by Jo Thornely
SOMETIMES the couples on First Dates are super-relatable - you know what it's like to go on a first date and just know it's right, and you also know what it's like to go on a first date and be trapped across the table from your worst nightmare, considering faking an aneurysm.
And sometimes, you just don't get what these couples could possibly see in each other.
Tuesday night's episode has the full spectrum of date experiences and suggestive mushrooms.
JAMES AND ABBIE
Abbie is a great girl. Gorgeous, straightforward, and as we'll learn quite quickly - extremely tolerant.
James is … James can't … James can be described using a single image.
"I would much prefer someone that has a normal tie" says Abbie to camera, more politely than anyone deserves or expects.
"I've gotta congratulate you," he says to Abbie. "This is my first date ever. How does that make you feel?"
James has never been on a date before, yet is still one hundred per cent convinced that he knows how to win over the laydieeez, and that is one hundred per cent how James would spell 'ladies'.
"YOU!" he demonstrates to camera, making clicking noises and gesturing. "Come here". That's. Yeah. That's it. Tell a girl to come here.
"It depends on your intent, love, it depends on how you approach," he explains to Abbie, whose intent it is to stop James calling her 'love' immediately.
This is a boy who has learned everything he knows about being a man from an uncle's rain-damaged VHS copy of Acropolis Now.
When asked to describe himself, James chooses to quote Wordsworth, and recites: "Like I'm intense, like I mean like, some girls like, 'cause I come across like … BOOM. Y'know, it's just like … some girls can't handle it, y'know?".
"Furthermore" he adds, "YOLO"
Abbie firmly declines a second date, claiming that there's a fine line between 'confident' and 'cocky'. The line between 'confident and 'dickhead' though, is as thick as an obnoxious necktie.
SUZANNE AND RAY
It's easy to like Suzanne as she fronts up for her pre-date to-camera interview with producers. "I feel like I'm on the witness stand," she says. "Lebos don't do well on the witness stand." She tells us - unnecessarily now - that she's a pretty direct person.
Suzanne's date Ray has very specific things he looks for in a woman: hair, teeth, and nails. He's delighted to meet Suzanne, who has all three.
While Ray does his best to charm and beguile Suzanne by using sneaky tricks like compliments and humour, she tolerates him, more interested in a deeply intimate relationship with her potatoes.
Unfortunately for their mothers, the fact that Suzanne and Ray are both Lebanese and alive is not enough for a second date, at least for Suzanne. It's hard to tell though: she's so hard to read.
MEGAN AND DALE
Okay, you know in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days how Kate Hudson tries to do all the things she possibly can to turn a guy off by being cutesy and intense and making everything about her?
Well Megan is nothing like that.
Megan's calm, down-to-earth date is Dale. Except for the fact that he likes hiking and doesn't believe in God, we don't really get to find out a lot about Dale. To know how he's feeling, all we have to go on is his facial expressions.
"I'm super into Lord of the Rings! I can speak Elvish! I taught myself archery!" says Megan, giggling.
"I also believe in the ideal of true love, and meeting the one, the Prince Charming, and um … yeah, I can do the Snow White voice really well!" says Megan, giggling.
"I am often judged by boys because of my strong Christian beliefs including saving myself for marriage! However I am well within my rights to reject you based solely on your own beliefs!" says Megan, giggling.
In a result so unsurprising even the moss growing on Walt Disney's grave sees it coming, Megan and Dale do not go on a second date.
VICTOR AND DANNIELLE
By the time Victor tells us he used to be a stripper, even the moss growing on Jamie Durie's landscaped rockery had already guessed.
In between making utterly disturbing popping noises with his mouth, Victor tells us he's looking for a woman with short hair who resembles popstar P!nk.
Being a hairdresser, it takes a while for Dannielle to come to terms with Victor's unfashionably long hair, or as they call it in the hairdressing business the 'short back and you were obviously once a stripper'. She also soldiers through the presence of a brown leather blazer, a character trait only present in the most resilient of women.
Dannielle doesn't even flinch when Victor relentlessly - RELENTLESSLY - continues to make popping noises.
She withstands constant staring, spontaneous hand-holding, and cheesy lines like "I've got my dessert here". "When someone's looking at you that intensely, all I see is hair" she says, shrugging it off.
By the time we get to Awkward Question Time, there's no doubt in anybody's mind what Victor will say to another date. "Gosh, absolutely. Bloody oath I would. Absolutely. Yea. Absolutely. Yeah. Bloody oath" he gushes.
"'Why not" says Dannielle, somewhat less forthcoming.
KYLE AND ASHLEIGH
This is the kind of date you want if you're in a rush. Simple, no-nonsense, easy-to-eat-food, only one penis-shaped mushroom. It's the time-honoured, timesaving story.
Boy has tattoos:
Girl gets all swoony about tattoos:
Boy looks at girl like this:
Girl looks at boy like this:
Boy and girl mack on in front of the whole restaurant:
And at the end of the date, everybody realises how utterly pissed boy and girl are.
Kyle and Ashleigh agree to a second date. If nothing else, they're efficient.
Jo Thornely is a writer who loves it when you explain her jokes back to her on Twitter. Follow her @JoThornely